For the first time in over a decade, the Falcons are without Matt Ryan leading the offense through offseason practices.
Over the course of the last 14 seasons, there has never been much of a question regarding just what the Falcons' plans were at quarterback. Now, it's all anyone wants to talk about in the months since Ryan was traded to the Colts. During said months, Atlanta signed Marcus Mariota to a two-year deal and picked up Desmond Ridder with the No. 74 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
After years of no questions at all, now there's an onslaught as the position heads in a new direction.
Working in the shadows of the public's perception of this position group is Charles London, the Falcons quarterback coach. He'll be charged with getting a starter, and a backup, ready for the 2022 season.
Prior to the start of the Falcons first open OTA on Thursday, London met with local media to answer questions regarding the overall state of Atlanta's quarterback room. Here's what he had to say.
On the state of the quarterback position in Atlanta...
"It's a competitive room. They push each other, which is great. I think it's really key to have synergy within that room between the quarterbacks, myself, the offensive coordinator and the head coach, and we've got that. It's a group that really wants to see each other succeed."
On early impressions of Desmond Ridder...
"Des is what we thought he was going to be. He's got great leadership. He came in here during rookie camp, and it's hard, he's got players who are undrafted free agents and street free agents who have never been together before. I thought he did a really good job of rallying the group and getting everybody going in the right direction. He's got a long way to go but he gets a little bit better every day. We're challenging him to pick one thing every day to get a little bit better at. I think he's done a good job of it."
On how Ridder is progressing through the playbook...
"He was well-coached in college at Cincinnati. They did a great job with him there. They have great coaches there. So, he came in prepared, and he understands what it means to be a pro. Being around Marcus has been great for him because Marcus is a true pro, a true vet so he sees how Marcus works and how Marcus studies and he's relaying those habits."
On Marcus Mariota's presence at the position...
"Marcus does have a lot of familiarity within the system from being with Coach (Arthur) Smith in Tennessee. He's got a little bit of a head start. But he's been great working with Desmond, working with Feleipe (Franks) about just some of the stuff he's learned over his career."
"He has been (a mentor). It's not his job but he's done it. That's just the type of guy Marcus is. He's a great teammate. He's willing to do whatever he can to help the team. Guys follow his lead."
On the pre-Draft comparison of Ridder to Mariota...
"They're both really athletic guys, can throw well on the run. They're both sharp, smart guys. There is a comparison there, and I thought that was funny that somebody did compare them before the draft."
On where the group currently stands, and where London wants them to go...
"They study together. They ask great questions. They're not scared to text me at night and ask me additional questions. They know they have to master the offense. They're the coach on the field... We talk to the guys a lot at the position that they have to learn to rescue themselves and rescue the team. During a game day, we're not out there helping them. They have to rescue themselves and get the guys in the right spot. They've gotta know what to do. They've gotta point (the offense) in the right direction. It's part of the job of being a quarterback to try to point them in that direction."
On the first day of OTAs, the team puts in work on the field and in the gym.